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Over 77 million people in Bangladesh, approximately ¼ of the population of the U.S., have been exposed to toxic amounts of arsenic in well water. This chronic exposure has lead to arsenic becoming the leading cause of death in Bangladesh. The current situation has been called "the largest mass poisoning of a population in history" by the World Health Organization. The Rahima Hoque Girl’s School, located in rural Bangladesh, works to give women the education they need to pursue higher opportunities. Unfortunately, students must put their health at risk every day just to obtain an education. This unfair trade-off is a result of the arsenic-contaminated drinking water present at the school.
In light of these facts, we felt compelled to make a difference. We’ve designed a reasonably priced water purification system to provide safe drinking water to the school. Our filter will not require electricity and will produce at least 4,000 gallons of drinking water per day. The design is simple and involves chlorination, activated carbon, adsorption of arsenic through a media, and then filtration through sand. This filter is also designed to provide an extra 2,000 gallons of water to sell to the community, allowing the girls to start a microfinance business. Not only will the community benefit as a whole, but the profits made from water sales can be used to maintain the filter and make much needed repairs to the school.
We’ve partnered with the founder of the high school and the Civil Engineering Department at ASU. But, we need your help, too. At this stage, we have identified two state of the art medias, LayneRT and E33, for the arsenic adsorption process. We want to have built two prototypes, one for each media, and quantitatively prove which one is better. Then we will incorporate the other stages of our filter into a quarter-scale model for proof-of-concept. Funding by the Dell Social Innovation Challenge will help set our plans in motion – by establishing proof-of-concept, we can take the steps we need to implement our filter on-site. Following proven success on-site, we can work on applying our filter to similar villages in Bangladesh and the world. With your help, we can help promote social entrepreneurship and bring clean, healthy water and hope to hundreds of high school girls in Bangladesh.